A 111-year-old historically black church in the #Mississippi Delta was set ablaze Tuesday night in what local police describe as a hate crime designed to suppress African-American turnout in next week’s election.
“It is being investigated as a hate crime,” Mayor Errick Simmons, the first black man to be elected mayor of Greenville, said Wednesday, calling the incident a “hateful and cowardly act.”
According to Mississippi’s Clarion Ledger, the FBI has been notified of the burning of the historically black church, which is also being investigated by the State Fire Marshal’s office, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and local authorities.
“Vote Trump” was spray-painted along the side of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville. The west Mississippi city of about 33,000 located near the Arkansas border is 78 percent African-American, according to the most recent census.